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William Baker Townwsend

Published On: Nov 22 2013 06:32:00 AM CST

Madison - William B. Townsend, 74, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 after a 20-year battle with Parkinson's disease.

Bill was born on August 2, 1939 in Highland Park, Michigan to William and Elizabeth (Jones) Townsend. He married the love of his life, Barbara Jo (Haslow), on November 24, 1962.

After graduating from Antigo High School in 1957, Bill attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He served with the Red Arrow Division of the National Guard during the Berlin Crisis. Upon his return to Madison, he was employed and mentored by Dick Hubanks at the Hasty Tasty and became manager of the Copper Grid, which he bought in 1966. For 35 years he enjoyed serving the crowds attending Badger and State athletic events. Bill was a mentor, friend and guide to hundreds of employees and customers. In the years prior to retiring, Bill and Barb hosted and supported many fine local and regional bluegrass musicians. His favorite place to relax was a cottage on Wood Lake in Westfield, Wis. He spent many hours with family and friends, boating, floating and fishing. He was an aspiring photographer who took many striking landscape photos of the lake and his travels. Bill was best known for his tall tales, quick wit and infectious giggle before the punch line of every joke he told.

Bill is survived by his wife, Barbara, of 51 years; children Catherine (John) Taylor of Glenview, Ill. and Susan (William) Schmitt of Verona, Wis.; four grandchildren, whom he absolutely adored: Jayce, Liam, McEan and Aidan; a brother George (Rosemary) Townsend; sister-in-law Mary Ellen (Robert) Reitz; brother-in-law Ken (Marlys) Haslow; and several nieces and nephews.

On Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 a celebration of Bill's life will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a coffee reception followed by a service at 11:00 a.m. at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, WI.

A special thanks to all our friends who have been so supportive to our family over the years and to the professional staff who took the extra time to provide exceptional care.

In lieu of plants and flowers, donations can be made to Michael J. Fox Foundation ( for Parkinson's research or Agrace Hospice (

We will love and miss you forever Grumpa!

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